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1921 __ « Tractatus logico-philosophicus »
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
Comment : Typical in this regard is the simultaneous blindness and insight regarding gramophonic inscription in the following highly suggestive passage from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus of 1921. While Wittgenstein invokes both the gramophonic trace and “the language of the gramophone record,” and in the final line even effectively juxtaposes gramophonic “language” with another form of musical notation, a careful reading of the passage reveals that Wittgenstein’s concern is not the character of the gramophone record’s inscriptions as such but rather the technical capacity of that “language” to store and re-produce sound. (Thomas Y. Levin)
Original excerpt : « 4.0141 There is a general rule according to which the musician can extrapolate the symphony from the score, and according to which one can derive the symphony from the groove on the gramophone record and then, using the first rule, in turn derive the score once again. That is what constitutes the inner similarity between these seemingly so completely different constructs. And this rule is the law of projection, which projects the symphony into the language of musical notation. It is the rule for the translation of the language of musical notation into the language of the gramophone record. »
Source : Levin, Thomas Y. (2002), ““Tones from out of Nowhere”: Rudolph Pfenninger and the Archaeology of Synthetic Sound”, Grey Room 12, Summer 2003, Grey Room, Inc. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pp. 32–79.; “’Töne aus dem Nichts’. Rudolf Pfenninger und die Archäologie des synthetischen Tons”, In Friedrich Kittler, Thomas Macho and Sigrid Weigel, Eds., “Zwischen Rauschen und Offenbarung: Zur Kultur- und Medien-geschichte der Stimme”, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2002, pp. 313-355.
Urls : http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/LevinPfen.pdf (last visited )

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